Guest Editorial by Evan S: Codex Tyranids: The Sky is Falling and I Like It!

Here we have a guest editorial by Evan S from over at the FTGT blog on Nids!

The title sums it up to some degree. The hate for Codex: Tyranids continues to rain down, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Call me overly optimistic, call me deluded, but I am generally positive about the direction my Tyranids are going. Now, am I totally happy with the book? No. Hell no. In fact, I can fall off that ledge and go through and list every unnecessary and overly-harsh nerf, every missed opportunity, and every strange, limiting, and detrimental rule and change or lack thereof in the new Tyranid book. Overall, I think it was a pretty piss-poor effort for a “new” codex.

angry bug

But if there’s one thing I am, it’s stubborn. And so, while I see so many people around me embrace and spread the hate and vitriol for how unusable the new Tyranid book is, I got to work. I think this goes for all the guys on our blog.

While I see a lot of defenses of the book offering platitudes, I feel like we’re doing a good job of offering concrete details, experiences, and lists, and hope to continue to do so. While like many we trashed the Tervigon as being too expensive now, and with too hefty a tax while losing her offensive output, we’ve come around and embraced the mini-horde.

A blob of 30 Termagants spread across several feet of board can be surprisingly tough to shift. Certainly, it’s not impossible. The internet counter argument seems to be that it’s a simple matter of killing off the synapse keeping them there. But that falls into the same fallacy of all theory-hammer arguments – they exist in a vacuum and you can always bring out a bigger hammer.

Yes, you can kill the synapse, or at least try, but it’s not going to be standing out in an open field smelling the clovers. Some of it will be in your face, demanding attention. Others will be lurking and out of range, line of sight, or just generally, looking like the little girl in a dark street full of monsters (MIB anyone?). And even then, in my 1,850 list, most of my Synapse is T6. Can it be killed? Of course. Can it be killed in time and all at once? That’s the question, and not nearly as simple a proposition.

Last weekend was the first major event with the new Tyranids playing a role – the LVO, run by the lead reluctant-nid-hater himself, Reece Robbins. In that event, everyone was surprised to see how well the nids fared. In fact, by win percentage, 6th Edition Nids were the best 6th ed codex after Tau and Eldar. So early results indicate the new book is viable and can be good. It seems like people are disappointed it didn’t come in and eat Eldar and Tau, but why do people want that? I didn’t realize how many people in our community were the woman who swallowed a fly.

Anyway, back to me being stubborn. The day the codex came out, I was actually playing with 5th Edition rules to prepare for the SCARAB GT the following week. For a prep game, Ron took my Taudar list and gave me a good test. While I won the game (barely) I ended it staring at my Tau and Eldar models thinking about how much fun they were, how much I was looking forward to painting more of them, and how sick I was of dealing with Tyranids. And I announced this loudly – I was considering taking a break from Tyranids.

That night, I had a bit of a self-revelation moment. I was tired of the 5th edition book, and dismissing the 6th edition book because it wasn’t my 5th edition book with a cherry on top. Why was I mourning that? I hated using that book by the end. Sure, on the surface the changes were minor, but my proposed 6th edition lists at the time were simply slight variations on a 5th edition theme.

You can make the argument that my more settled lists are only a slight variation on the 5th edition net list, but I am excited about playing it, which is a big difference. With the 5th Ed book, I dragged my feet on getting a second tervigon. Now, for some reason I’m readily accepting 2, even though it means I will need around 100 termagants (assembly line painting posts to come). It just adds to the 6 other MCs I will be fielding.

I also love the idea of a challenge. I feel like, coming in to the book well after it’s release, the 5th ed book was already “solved.” People had squeezed the maximum use out of it they could, and picking that up wasn’t rewarding. Now I have a chance to prove that the army is viable, and that I can come up with viable builds and use units effectively. This is a draw that obviously Eldar and Tau can’t hold. Call me a masochist, but I need a challenge to stay engaged.

I like the challenge presented by the new book. I’m also not crazy enough to think I can make something brilliant out of nothing – I think there are viable and strong builds available, but many people haven’t seen them work yet and are being dismissive. Will Tyranids win a majority of events this year? No. Will they win any major events? I think they can, piloted by a good general (aka, someone better than myself). Tyranids will hold their own and make the top tables from time to time.


About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

22 Responses to “Guest Editorial by Evan S: Codex Tyranids: The Sky is Falling and I Like It!”

  1. The Voice February 15, 2014 2:00 am

    more a question than an observation, but the nids results were slightly sqewed were they not? thier win ration was high, but the highest position they got too was 34th and this was blackmoor, someone who with a better codex and on the right day it looking at podium finishes?.

    The number of players using the book was also very low and so doesnt really give you much of a cross section which helps those stats.

    All in all that doesnt scream ” everyone was surprised to see how well the nids fared”

    • Evan S February 15, 2014 5:52 am

      Thanks for the feedback. Yeah, the LVO stats aren’t the end-all-be-all because of the small sample size. I didn’t want to get too into the weeds of the statistics, but even beyond win percentage, there were positive signs; a winning record against 6th ed codices for example.

      Yeah, the highest nid player was in the 20s, but the highest ranked nid player going into day 2 dropped out of round 5. So, again, the sample size is admittedly too small for concrete conclusions, but I see the stats we do have as signs of hope.

    • jy2
      jy2 February 15, 2014 9:08 am

      Shut up you hater! Haha….just kidding. 😉

      Nids are not top-tier by any stretch of the imagination, but to come out on top of most of the armies that was at the LVO is quite an accomplishment, especially for a codex that many have decreed probably the worst army currently.

      Wait til players like myself or Janthkin start taking them to tournaments.

      • White925 February 15, 2014 12:41 pm

        Good luck Jim youre going to need it ;P

        • jy2
          jy2 February 15, 2014 2:36 pm

          Wow…Frankie not only browsing the blogsphere, but replying as well!!! I have been honored. 😉

          Yeah, we’ll need it. Not saying we’ll be consistently winning tournies, but I think good players can consistently place high (i.e. top 25%) with bugs in tournaments.

          • Reecius
            Reecius February 15, 2014 8:28 pm

            Fair assessment, I think. I honestly don’t think they have even a 10% chance of winning against Taudar.

      • The Voice February 15, 2014 3:48 pm

        To quote someone on another forum who said it better than i:

        “The codex is increasingly looking like a flat-track bully based on the game experiences people are having on TTH. Does fine in casual play (mostly), can mess up lower tier armies at tournament level, folds like a pair of 3s before a full house when put against a competent opponent running a good list, no matter how competent the Tyranid player or how good the Tyranid list. And that isn’t exclusive to Taudar or Deldar, though they certainly wreck all kinds of face against any Tyranid list you care to field”

        Plus, i find list building very dull, id rather spend a lunch time trying new things out with a marine list using a different chapter tactic then write another nid list which feels like a game of “point tetris” trying to squeeze the same 7 or 8 units into a list but in a slightly different way…

        Thats my beef.

        • Reecius
          Reecius February 15, 2014 8:21 pm

          Well said. I feel the same way. It comes down to how many of like, 4 different units I am going to take.

  2. Adam February 15, 2014 5:27 am

    Very even-handed and informative. Great work!

    • Evan S February 15, 2014 5:54 am

      Thanks, Adam!

  3. Chuckles February 15, 2014 5:51 am

    I think a pretty substantial part of what makes the new Tyranid codex so disappointing is that as a Tyranid player you end up spending almost as much effort fighting against your own army’s rules as you do against your opponent, while they are not encumbered in this way (even Daemons are not hamstrung in anything like the same fashion). The IB rules and the general way in which GW have carefully worded things so that obvious combos don’t work very well mean that Tyranids are fighting with a pretty substantial handicap. The LVO results, honestly, are pretty underwhelming. The top ranked Tyranid player went 4-1 W-L but 2 of his wins were mirror games, so it’s hard to say with much certainty what those results reflect about the Tyranids. I’m also with The Voice in that it takes some pretty creative interpretation of the stats to look at the LVO results and come away concluding that “everyone was surprised to see how well the nids fared”. They didn’t do as catastrophically as some feared and/or suggested they would, but they hardly dominated either.

    • Evan S February 15, 2014 6:00 am

      As I mentioned in my response to The Voice, the stats aren’t concrete, but I can see the positive. I haven’t had instinctive behavior be a problem in my games so far. But maybe I’ve been lucky. As I said in the beginning, I’m not happy with the book by itself, but I also think it’s more viable than it has been perceived.

    • ReeciusMakeMeABaby February 15, 2014 8:41 am

      “They didn’t do as catastrophically as ALL THE INTERNET feared and/or suggested they would”

      Fixed that for you. 😀

      • white925 February 15, 2014 3:51 pm

        I will make you a baby, sir!

  4. Angelic Despot February 15, 2014 6:53 am

    I think it’s great that players are having fun with the new codex – although I think that says more about them than it does about the quality of the work GW has done.

    You have alluded to the point when you say that the codex was a “pretty piss-poor effort”. This is what annoys me about the book. Not that you can’t win (I wouldn’t know whether that’s true or not), but that there is so much about the codex that is bad and poorly thought out.

    You can have fun trying to overcome the challenge – and good on you for doing so. But that’s no excuse for GW dropping the ball in so many ways. It’s a shame that your fun has to come from the feeling of being an underdog, trying to overcome a challenge rather than from using a codex that is inherently fun to use and full of cool combos and abilities like some of the other ‘dexes have been.

    PS. I say this as someone who was pleased about some of the changes and was no fan of the previous codex. I’m glad we’ve lost rulebook psychic powers, for example.

    • Evan S February 15, 2014 5:09 pm

      That’s a very fair assessment I think. Thanks for the feedback.

  5. Oadius February 15, 2014 8:43 am

    Best article I’ve read in awhile. I read every word. No applicable vitriol. Cheers!

    • Evan S February 15, 2014 8:57 am

      Thanks, Oadius!

  6. jy2
    jy2 February 15, 2014 9:05 am

    Very well said. My sentiments exactly!

    • Evan S February 15, 2014 10:49 am

      Thanks, jy2! Glad I’m not alone.

  7. Kwodd February 17, 2014 9:19 am

    Least fun codex hands down, no mobility for 90% of the book and a shakeup of heavy support and elite slots is what we have to experiment with. The list building stage requires as much creativity as paint by numbers and the tabletop experience is even less rewarding. The book is really good at reminding me how much fun my space marine codex is. People always talk about how pods and brb powers were “crutches”, ok the old book had to walk with crutches but at least the handicapped mess could still hobble around. The new one still has polio only no crutches so it’s basically writhing around on the floor trying to get up but it’s legs aren’t strong enough to support it’s bloated birthing sack.

  8. McDoogle February 18, 2014 11:26 pm

    I don’t know what game people are playing, but I’ve played Tyranids since their beginning(s). This is the most fun I’ve had with a Tyranids codex, because I have options.

    In sticking with a rules set that at least sort of resembles the current, I’ll start with the 3rd edition codex. Contrary to popular belief, it wasn’t “highly customizable.” You started with monsters that had terrible stats and then bought what numbers you wanted. It was a nightmare to keep track of for the player and the opponent, and the models were the worst of any generation.

    People talk about the 4th edition one like it was a golden era, but that was just 5 Carnifexes and go. Sure, it tabled a lot of people, until the Eldar codex came out immediately after and birthed Harlequins. One squad could literally take out a Tyranids army without a scratch, and you never saw Tyranids hit a tournament table again until the 5th edition codex.

    The 5th edition book was a disaster, and literally mono-build. It was by far the worst book GW has ever printed. Biomancy gave it a boost with the BRB, but even then, when people figured out popping a Tervigon wrecks the whole army, it was over.

    Now I can build dual Flyrants or Deathleaper in the HQ. I can go mini swarm with Tervigons, mass Horror broods, or even Warriors (as S8 is less prevalent, and most people aim those at the MC’s). I can have 4-5 FMC’s on the table at once, or huge piles of Gargoyles. Biovores are absurdly good, but I think everyone overlooks them because they are a $41 Finecast mini that looks stupid. Exocrines, Trygon Primes, Mawlocs, Tyrannofexes, and Carnifexes are all playable in the Heavy Support slot. I have yet to have IB come up in a game, by the way, and that’s after 21 games with the new book. I haven’t lost to anything with Tau or Eldar in it (and that includes a Jetseer list copy + pasted from the LVO), and I’ve found every one of Reecius’s opponents to build and play in baffling fashion. Terrible lists and tactics, and playing with fear.

    I have found it gloriously easy to bust up a Tau or Eldar army castling in a corner, because they all play predictably. They rely on what is supposed to be a superior codex to do the work for them, and then get all pissy when I beat them with Tyranids.

    6th edition rules favor the shooting armies, without question. That’s the real hindrance (if any) with the Tyranid codex. Only bad players suffer Instinctive Behavior problems. I don’t want to see GW overcompensate, but giving assault-based armies ONE (not all) of the following would help those who need a crutch:

    -assault from Reserves
    -assault after running
    -change Overwatch

    Shooting should be the strongest part of the game, as it is the future with super cool guns and technology. That said, GW does make assault-themed armies and could do more to give them a chance.

    I haven’t had problems with the new book and am constantly play-testing new lists. I love it. The core rules could use some tweaking.